EQ & Coaching

Ever since Peter Salovey (Yale) and John Mayer (New Hampshire) first coined the term “Emotional Intelligence” (EQ) in 1990, much has been researched and written about what EQ is, how it works, and what you can do to improve it. And those three concepts have an important impact on the coaching profession.

Daniel Goleman brought “Emotional Intelligence” into the mainstream with the publication of his 1995 book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Since that time, coaches have been adopting various EQ concepts.

What it is

As a coach, much depends on how you define EQ. Definitions of EQ vary:

  • Daniel Goleman’s Definition: “It is the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.” (1998)
  • A Definition Based on Behavioral Thought: “Emotional Intelligence is the ability to restrain negative feelings such as anger and self-doubt, and instead focus on positive ones such as confidence and congeniality.” (From the American Psychological Association Monitor, Volume 29, Number 7 – July 1998 by Bridget Murray, Monitor staff)
  • Salovey and Mayer’s Definition: “Emotional Intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.” (1997)
  • Six Seconds’ Definition: “Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to get optimal results from your relationships with yourself and others.” (1997)
  • Dr. Reuven Bar-On’s Definition: “Emotional Intelligence is an array of non-cognitive capabilities, competencies, and skills that influence one’s ability to succeed in coping with environmental demands and pressures.” (1997)
  • Q-Metrics’ Definition: “Emotional Intelligence is the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source of human energy, information, trust, creativity and influence.” (2002)
  • Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves’ Definition: “Emotional Intelligence is your ability to recognize and understand emotions, and your skill at using this awareness to manage yourself and relationships with others.” (From The Emotional Intelligence Quickbook, 2003)
  • Steve Hein’s Definition: “The mental ability we are born with which gives us our emotional sensitivity and our potential for emotional learning management skills which can help us maximize our long term health, happiness and survival.” (From EQ for Everybody, 1996); recently changed to: “Emotional intelligence is the innate potential to feel, use, communicate, recognize, remember, learn from, manage, and understand emotions.”

To get more specific about some of the definitions:

  • Goleman originally identified five competencies of Emotional Intelligence: Internally – Awareness, Regulation, Motivation; externally – Empathy and Social Skills. Goleman has since reduced his list of competencies to four – Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management – and he lists 19 categories under those four domains.
  • There are four parts to the Salovey/Mayer definition:
    1. Perceive or sense emotions – the ability to recognize how you and those around you are feeling.
    2. Use emotions to assist thought – the ability to generate an emotion, and then reason with this emotion (Also called Emotional Facilitation of Thought, or Assimilating Emotions).
    3. Understand emotions – the ability to understand complex emotions and emotional “chains,” how emotions transition from one stage to another.
    4. Manage emotions – the ability which allows you to manage emotions in your self and others.
  • For Six Seconds to Practice EQ, you should:
    1. Know Yourself by enhancing emotional literacy and recognizing patterns.
    2. Choose Yourself by applying consequential thinking, navigating emotions, engaging intrinsic motivation, and exercising optimism.
    3. Give Yourself by increasing empathy and pursuing noble goals.
    4. Dr. Bar-On’s EQ-i assesses five areas: Intrapersonal (awareness); Stress Management (problem solving); Adaptability (stress tolerance); and General Mood (happiness).
    5. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves now offer a variety of consulting services pertaining to talent management, as well as online assessments with e-learning, through their company TalentSmart. They follow the Daniel Goleman concept of Emotional Intelligence.

I prefer a simple definition of Emotional Intelligence: “Emotional Intelligence is being intelligent about your emotions.” I also subscribe to the original five EQ competencies identified by Goleman:

How it Works

My emotional intelligence coaching focus is on:

  1. Knowing Yourself.
  2. Knowing Others.
  3. Taking Action based on what you know about yourself and others.

After determining, during an initial ‘no cost’ meeting, that the potential client wants to be coached in Emotional Intelligence and that I am the best person to do the coaching, we schedule a 360 Degree EQ Assessment that I have developed.

We then use the results of the 360 to set concrete, behavioral goals, and the coaching begins. The coaching usually lasts three to six months, on average, and can be a combination of face-to-face and telephone coaching, or strictly one or the other. The coaching is usually done weekly with unlimited e-mails and quick, “pick me up” five to 10 minute calls as needed.

Having had issues with EQ myself, specifically with road rage, I feel immensely qualified to assist others in improving their own EQ. The key is that, unlike IQ, EQ can be improved.

2,000 years ago Plato wrote, “All learning has an emotional base.” Since then people have worked to prove or disprove the importance of emotions; and a growing body of research is showing that emotions help us to make good decisions and help us focus.

What you can do to improve it

There are a number of things you can do to improve your emotional intelligence. Depending on the individual, some work better than others.

  1. Do nothing. Since EQ is involved with maturity, just keep maturing; and the older you get the more mature you should become and the higher your EQ should become as well.
  2. Self coach. Study and learn all you can about EQ, and find someone to model who has well developed EQ skills. Practice through: self talk; becoming aware of your emotions at any given moment; regulating your emotions; practicing empathy; and working on getting along with all kinds of people.
  3. Hire a coach. A coach is a partner and an objective observer who can help you focus on your fundamental beliefs and assessments, change your behavior, and improve your decision making in those aspects of EQ where you are most deficient.

Of course, my prejudice is on #3 – hire a coach – because I have seen individuals make tremendous progress in improving their EQ when working with a coach.
I have personally coached people through:

  • Managing their anger
  • Becoming more aware of their emotions and moods
  • Regulating their emotions, when necessary, and working through them when appropriate
  • Using their emotions to motivate themselves
  • Improving their empathy and social skills
  • Changing their self-talk to be more positive
  • Dealing with difficult people
  • Adjusting their personalities to effect better communication
  • Reading the non-verbal cues of others
  • Selling through the recognition of emotional triggers
  • Practicing interpersonal communication skills
  • Actively listening
  • Using visualizations and affirmations to improve performance
  • Identifying their unique abilities
  • Writing better e-mails, memos, and letters
  • Delegating more effectively
  • Managing time and stress
  • Building trustworthiness and trust
  • Setting achievable goals
  • Developing stronger teams
  • Improving their overall business performance

Emotional intelligence is combining the head and the heart, and a coach can help in making the combination work to your advantage.

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